Travis Sampson lived up to his "Bubba" stereotype on last night's Survivor: Vanuatu episode and foolishly attempted to openly conspire with his former Lopevi tribemates at the Immunity Challenge that followed a tribal reshuffling that left him on a woman-dominated Yasur tribe. As a result, the 33-year-old loss prevention specialist from Blountville, TN was voted out in a 6-1 "unanimous" vote due to his disloyalty.
Survivor: Vanuatu's fifth episode began with a demonstration that life must be pretty good over at the Lopevi men's camp, as the biggest thing the tribe had to argue about was each person's sleeping position around the fire. Despite the urging of others, Travis demonstrated an early example of his poor decision making by needlessly drawing the resentment of his fellow tribemates by refusing to agree to a sleeping location rotation that would result in others getting an opportunity to slumber in his "prime" smoke-free and ashless sleeping position near the fire.
The following day, Vanuatu tribesmen visited both camps demanding that each tribe select a "tribal chief." Once Lopevi chose Lea "Sarge" Masters, the 40-year-old drill sergeant from Columbia, SC, and Yasur selected Scout Cloud Lee, the 59-year-old rancher from Stillwater, OK, the tribesmen mysteriously padded off, leaving the castaways behind to wonder what was coming next.
In the middle of their speculation, a minor earthquake hit the Vanuatu island chain (one of several minor tremors to hit the region during filming) and unnerved the castaways. Other than some fallen trees and dropped coconuts (which the tribes might have found useful) little permanent damage appeared to result.
After assembling for the Reward Challenge, the contestants were informed that their newly selected "tribal chiefs" would be responsible for a tribal reshuffling, with Scout getting to divide the survivors into two new tribes and Lea then getting to decide which of the new tribes he wanted to lead. When the process was done, Lea joined a new Lopevi tribe consisting of Chad Crittenden, Chris Daugherty, John Kenney, Julie Berry, and Twila Tanner, while the new Yasur group was comprised of Scout, Travis, Rory Freeman, Ami Cusack, Eliza Orlins, Leann Slaby, and Lisa Keiffer (who as the last remaining unassigned castaway, had been given the option to determine which tribe she wanted to join.)
The new Lopevi group won the relay-style diving-for-markers Reward Challenge, and as a result they gained the opportunity to visit the area's scenic waterfalls and enjoy a feast for the ages comprised of all the Pringles potato chips and label-less beer (apparently long-time Survivor sponsor Budweiser dropped out this year) that they could consume. Never let it be said that Survivor producer Mark Burnett is one to skimp on his prize budget.
At the following day's Immunity Challenge, the tribes competed in a combination land and water relay competition, with the tribes having to send teams of two out into the jungle to gather outrigger canoe parts and paddles, jointly assemble the pieces, and then have two more tribe members paddle the canoe out to a buoy and retrieve their flag.
As host Jeff Probst was explaining the challenge, Travis attempted to communicate with Lopevi member Chris and suggest that the Lopevi tribe intentionally lose the challenge and use the opportunity to boot one of the two women reassigned to their tribe so that the men would have a majority at the eventual merge. While his strategy might have been sound (although given the unpredictable nature of Survivor, more than one previous contestant has been burned by assuming what the future held), attempting to have such a discussion at the Immunity Challenge certainly was not, and as a result Travis' communication attempt was quickly noticed by Yasur's women, who immediately pounced on his open treachery as a reason to boot him once they lost the challenge.
This week's incorrect bootee prediction drops our Survivor: Vanuatu prediction record to 5-1. In Spoiler Island fantasy game action, Episode 5 scores have been posted and there are still a several way tie for first place. Congratulations to all, we'll see if Episode 6 further thins the leaderboard. And if you haven't signed up yet, there's still time -- sign-up now.
So what happens next week? Does Rory stage a work stoppage? Which survivor is afraid of pigs? And who's going home next? Check out our Survivor spoilers forum for the latest details on these and many other hot topics!